Image: Camp Dudley, Westport, NY (via Catherine A. Sanderson)

Boosted on Medium: The psychology of happiness, ethics in machine learning, and more

A few stories publication editors have selected for a boost

Published in
6 min readMar 23, 2023

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Last month, we introduced a new Boost for top stories on Medium. If you’re a writer who’s had a story Boosted, you’ll probably recognize this alert from your stats page…

Boosted!

We recommend “Boosted” stories to interested readers across Medium’s homepage, apps, and our Daily Digest email, which goes out to millions of people each day. Our goal is for every Boosted story to receive at least 500 views within the first week. We’re tracking this, and it’s working! Often, our initial push is enough to tip these stories into a much wider readership, and we’ve seen boosts between 500 and 100K views so far. You can read more on how it’s going here.

Most importantly, we’re working with the Medium community to identify stories to Boost — currently, 21 publication editors are helping us source them, and that number keeps growing (it was 15 when we launched). If you’re interested in joining us, let us know. For now, editors in the program nominate stories to us, we confirm they meet our distribution standards, and then they’re Boosted. Publication editors are nominating a mix of stories in and outside of their publications. (We’re also selecting stories to boost ourselves, but we don’t have the range of knowledge and expertise that many of you have — which is why we’re working with publication editors to source stories we’ve missed.)

Here are some of those stories. Read on for: a psychology professor’s strategies for increasing happiness; an angel investor’s advice for early-stage startups seeking funding; a humor writer’s take on in-flight airline credit card offers; and more…

Harris Sockel @ Medium

Anna Lurchenko

Discovering Creativity: On your unique blob and the threat of normalcy” by Anna Iurchenko, Health AI designer at Google

Nominated by Fabricio Teixeira, editor of UX Collective: “A uniquely framed and very honest perspective on finding one’s creative self.”

It requires courage, perseverance and resources like time and money, to be who you truly are instead of who you think you’re expected to be.

A Simple Strategy for Boosting Happiness and Health: Spend Time in Nature” by Catherine A. Sanderson, professor of psychology at Amherst College and author of ‘The Positive Shift’

Nominated by Jeff Barton, editor of Runner’s Life: “It’s well-written and researched and provides a framework for many people who are overworked, over-stressed, and in need of an easy-to-use solution to combat many of today’s problems.”

Even brief exposure to nature leads to increases in happiness. People who simply walk past clusters of greenery in a city show spikes in happiness, suggesting that even flower beds, trees, and small strips of green in an urban environment make us feel good.

How to Live Until You Die” by Sharon Flesher, writer and former reporter

Nominated by Nancy Peckenham, editor of Crow’s Feet: “A well-constructed piece about the impact of attitude on your health and well-being as you age.”

Body. Mind. Heart. We have limited control over these factors. To live until we die may mean grabbing each opportunity to extend that control. When we can take steps to fill our remaining time with the stuff we value, we start by putting one foot in front of the other, even if it hurts at first.

Please Sign Up for Our Inflight Airline Credit Card Offer” by Laura Lane, author, journalist, comedy writer, and performer

Nominated by Kristen Mulrooney and The Belladonna’s editors: “Anyone who’s been on a plane will understand this minor annoyance. This story escalates so well and had all the editors LOLing by the end.”

Sign up for our credit card and you’ll get 1,000,000 bonus miles on top of other amazing benefits like preferred boarding, a free checked bag and access to our airport lounge where you can look forward to a buffet of room temperature clam chowder and unlimited cheese squares.

Aisha Yusuf

Finding My Voice Again” by Aisha Yusuf, author of ‘Race to the Finish Line’ and cofounder of Abayo House

Nominated by Justin Cox, editor of The Writing Cooperative: “Aisha’s story is captivating! While her experience here is unique, she uses it to highlight common pitfalls all writers face: burnout and rejection. Aisha openly shares her struggles and how she persevered. It’s a beautiful story that is well-deserving of a boost!”

Writing has always been a part of who I am, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue sharing my voice and my stories with others. I’m looking forward to what the future holds, and I hope that my writing can make a difference in the world.

Fleeing the Burning House of Diversity” by Louis Byrd, Chief Visionary Officer at Zanago

Nominated by Maia Niguel Hoskin, Ph.D., professor, race scholar, and editor of ZORA: “This story provides an engaging, thoughtful, and vivid examination of diversity and blackness in America through storytelling.”

In American society, we are quick to address symptoms of oppression but act leisurely in addressing the cause of the symptoms.

How It Goes: On Slacking and San Francisco” by Matthew Specktor, novelist and memoirist

Nominated by Adeline Dimond, editor of Sybarite: “Yes, this is a story about the city of San Francisco, but it’s also about more universal things, like longing and memory.”

I kept hearing sounds — foghorns, gulls, cries that might have been seals, or loons — that reminded me of how it once felt to live here, how I felt and how the city felt, and how we are all just sieves for time, how it pours through us and we can do exactly fuck all to stop it except periodically pause to fix certain details in mind, which we can never do all that accurately anyway.

Image by Hennie de Harder via Dall-E 2

Ethical Considerations in Machine Learning Projects” by Hennie de Harder, data scientist at IKEA and BigData Republic

Nominated by Ben Huberman, Editor-in-Chief of Towards Data Science: “A great beginner-friendly primer on machine learning/AI ethics, a topic which continues to generate lively conversations in our community.”

Ethics in data isn’t the most exciting subject you can think of. But if you want to use data in a responsible way, you might be interested in different ways to ensure this. This post contains six important ethics topics and ways to investigate how your model is doing.

The boost program is in its very early stages, and we’re learning (and growing) a lot! If you run a publication and are interested in helping us boost the best of Medium, express your interest here. We look forward to hearing from you.

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